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We met five years ago when I was her family’s bodyguard.
It’s the little things I remember about Ben.
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“Don’t look at me like you want me… not if you don’t,” I murmur into the silence.
He sits back and readjusts himself in his pants. His dark eyes hold mine, yet he doesn’t answer me.
The water laps around me as I lie on the inflatable mattress, floating around the pool in my white string bikini. The sun is just setting, and everyone has disappeared to get ready for dinner.
His eyes are locked on me from his poolside deckchair position.
He has no right to look at me, to watch me with wanting eyes.
But he does.
And I still like it.
Ben is my sister’s family’s bodyguard and the head of their security.
Things are difficult between us, to say the least.
The attraction between us wasn’t supposed to happen, but forbidden had never felt so good.
Six-foot-three-inches tall with sandy hair, honey-brown eyes, and a large, muscular physique, he’s a by-product of being ex-military.
Ben Statham is one hell of a man.
From the lingering looks, the clenching deep in my sex when he looks at me, the smouldering fire whenever he would sneak into my room late at night…
It led to our story beginning six months ago, when my sister Natasha became involved with her then-boyfriend, Joshua Stanton.
I was always with Tash, and Ben was always with Josh. We came together through circumstance. Acquaintances and nothing more.
He was the strong man at the back of the crowd, watching over everyone.
I was busy watching him.
The rest of the world was concentrating on my beloved sister and Joshua’s blossoming relationship.
I was concentrating on fighting the attraction, but the pull to him only grew day by day.
Laughter turned to conversation, conversation introduced lingering looks, and lingering looks turned to goose bumps, until one day in the kitchen pantry it happened.
Ben kissed me.
It was the most perfect kiss I’ve ever had.
It was sweet, sexy, and it opened a world of passion I never even knew existed.
For three weeks we snuck a kiss in where we could until, in a moment of foggy passion, I asked him to come to my room after everyone went to sleep that night.
We made love. Storybook love.
The perfection we’d created carried on for six weeks, until tragedy struck our family. As the head of security Ben blamed himself, and pulled away from me.
When I needed him the most, he was nowhere around to offer support.
We’ve hardly spoken since.
And now we’re here on a family vacation in Kamala, Thailand.
My feelings for him haven’t changed.
He’s still the head of security.
I’m still his boss’ sister-in-law.
But he left me when I needed him the most, and I won’t forget that anytime soon.
Our eyes are locked.
“Why would you think I don’t want you?” he whispers in his heavy South African accent.
I frown, unsure how to answer. Eventually, I reply, “Do you?”
He sips his beer, contemplating the right way to answer.
I run my fingers through the water beneath me as I try to articulate my thoughts.
I don’t know what’s going on with us, but I do know I can’t stand feeling the way I feel.
I can’t go on without him giving me the answers I need. He’s a strong man who doesn’t show his true feelings, but what happened to us? How do you go from passionate lovers to being nothing, without even a conversation?
There was no fight, no discussion. Just silence.
He doesn’t answer my question. His jaw clenches as his gaze holds mine. My eyes search his.
What the fuck is going on with him?
Does he want me to beg?
Answer me, damn it.
I climb off the inflatable mattress and make my way to the pool steps. I want to be the one who ends the conversation, not the other way around.
Who am I kidding?
I’m the only one in this conversation. I slowly walk out of the pool, and his hungry gaze drops down my body. I bend and pick up my towel to wrap it around my waist, and with one last lingering look I walk inside.
His refusal to address our issues infuriates me.
It hurts me, and it makes me wonder if everything we shared was an illusion.
I know he’s strong. I know he’s not a talker. But those nights in his arms were filled with tenderness and love.
Where is that man?
Because I want him back.
I lie in the darkness at 1:00 a.m. The sound of the ocean drifts through the room, and a soft breeze rolls over my body. As usual, I’m torturing myself with thoughts of Ben Statham and his beautiful body. Where is he now? Is he asleep?
The last time we were together I told him I loved him. I never meant to, but I couldn’t help it. I was all soft and emotional from my orgasm high, and the words just slipped out.
Is that why he ran?
I blow out a deep breath and stare at the ceiling as I go over that last night we spent together for the ten-thousandth time.